Ralph drawing on all his skills for Queen portrait
A UK-based Jewish painter this week declared himself "privileged" to be painting an official portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, saying it was his "most ambitious work to date".
Ralph Heimans, 42, whose highly-acclaimed portraits include subjects as diverse as Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, conductor Vladimir Ashkenazi, Dame Elizabeth Murdoch and the French rugby squad, plans to depict The Queen in a different setting to Buckingham Palace, which is traditionally used for official portraits.
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Sydney-born Heimans said: "I feel very privileged to be working on such an exciting project, in such an exciting year, and it’s certainly my most ambitious work to date. Through the
narrative of this portrait, I want to explore the dynamic between the public role of the Queen and the personal, human dimension. I have chosen to portray her in a context that has a special significance for her Coronation and the Diamond Jubilee."
The large-scale picture and its setting will be revealed to the public at Canberra's National Portrait Gallery in October. It will also be displayed in London in 2013 in the run up to the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.
Heimans though gave an insight into how painting Her Majesty was far from wall to wall glamour in an interview with Melbourne’s The Age newspaper: "The context I wanted to place her in for this portrait is unusual because it is outside the Palace. We'd had a hint, an email with an informal OK 10 days before, so I had to race around and use that time to visit sites and find exactly the right setting... I was finding whatever lady I could to stand in for lighting, choosing grannies off the street.
"It was really almost that desperate."
With a body of commissioned works spanning over two decades, Heimans is internationally renowned for his portraits of influential figures that artfully integrate subject and context,
offering meaningful narratives about his subjects and their life stories.
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